With three kids under the age of five, a trip to the grocery store used to pose a special challenge for me. In those days we were on an especially tight budget so sticking to my list was a necessity. It used to drive me crazy that the checkout line shelves were always filled with candy, gum, and other eye-catching treats that any child would beg to have.
In an effort to counteract this marketing technique, before entering the store each time I would remind my children that we would not be buying any candy or gum at the cash register line. For the most part it was a strategy that worked.
Until one day it happened.
Total And Utter Meltdown.
If you are a parent you know what I’m talking about.
That dramatic, uncontrollable volcano of emotion that suddenly spews out of your child.
All possibility of holding it together for one more moment has been exhausted and kicking and screaming ensues.
And there you are in the middle of the IGA with two other children who look as if they’re considering following suit depending on your reaction to the offender.
Oh, and absolutely everyone and their brother is watching you.
It’s as if there’s a spotlight suspended over your head and at any moment you’re going to hear broadcasted over the intercom, “Meltdown in aisle two. Parental incompetence suspected.”
Incidentally on this particular day my daughter was wearing the cutest white rabbit fur coat. It was a hand-me-down from a friend and was by far the fanciest and most expensive coat she had ever owned.
Walking in she’d looked like a perfect little princess. Sprawled on the grocery floor throwing a category 10 fit over a pack of gum she looked like an overindulged brat.
I take comfort in the fact that in one way or another most parents have endured a similar scene. And we all get through it.
Although sometimes parenthood can make you feel that you’re just one pack of gum away from throwing your own self to the floor in a hissy fit.
That day I had to make a decision and fast. Taking a deep breath and praying silently, I gingerly stepped over her and proceeded toward the door. In my head I was thinking, “What am I going to do if she doesn’t follow me?”
I needn’t have worried. I wasn’t two steps away from her before she popped up off the floor and hurried after me.
You know, there have been times in my life when I’ve been that little girl in the rabbit coat thrashing around on the floor. Instead of trusting in God’s plan for my life I’ve acted as if I’ve known better and then become frustrated when things haven’t turned out the way I thought that they should.
Instead of appreciating all the good that is in my life, I begin to focus on what is wrong. I’ve complained and protested.
Honestly, I’ve been sort of a brat. And if I’m not careful I could begin to think that God has left me alone to my own misery and simply stepped over me.
It’s really me who has stepped away in disobedience.
I am so glad that God never thinks, “What am I going to do if she doesn’t follow me?” What a blessing to know that He has a plan and He’s sticking to it. No matter what, He is always patiently pursuing my heart.
And when I finally get over my melodramatic meltdown I realize that I was never really alone. He was just one step ahead waiting for my return.